Nonverbal communication is the key to successful marketing copy.
Have you ever found yourself in an argument with a friend, family member, or significant other where the issue isn’t what they’re saying to you, but how they’re saying it? We’ve all been there. You might be surprised to realize you could be pushing away your audience with your marketing copy exactly the same way.
The most important form of human communication is what happens nonverbally. It’s where our primary opinions and takeaways come from in every interaction.
This means when you’re communicating with your audience- whether it’s written in marketing copy, an in-person presentation, or a webinar, it’s critical to be intentional with the meaning behind the words you’re using.
Words are powerful. We use them to make feelings and connections. And every marketer knows if your audience is connecting with you and becoming emotionally attached, they’re sold.
Today we’re giving you special access to a piece of our Entrepreneur Alliance masterclass training series, featuring James Hepburn from Ivy League Marketing. He has a great understanding of the way we communicate nonverbally and the best ways to use your words to make feelings, connections, and powerful messages.
Watch the video below for more content and read on for the outline of what James suggests for more powerful marketing copy that instantly boosts conversions.
1. Have a conversation with your audience.
Write your marketing copy the way you’d speak. Make your advertisements personal.
Use simple language and don’t inflate your vocabulary- most people in our society read and write at an eighth-grade level. Your content should be geared toward the masses.
If you model your marketing copy after the way you’ve already spoken it, your audience will likely feel like they’re having a conversation with you. As soon as you jump into technical, scholarly writing, readers will tune out whatever you’re saying. This is also a great tip for consulting: don’t overload your clients with jargon or highly technical ideas.
2. Build high hopes, but be realistic.
Everyone wants things fast, quick and easy– the magic solution. It’s important to maintain ethical standards in your advertising, but people want their problems solved now. If your product is great, it’s okay to build up your promise in a way that’s believable and honest- but still irresistible.
A great tactic for striking the balance between attractive offers and realistic outcomes is choosing to be selective in what you’re broadcasting. If your product typically delivers results in seven months, instead of the competition’s yearlong plan, call it the fastest solution on the market. You don’t have to lay out all the details right away.
3. Marketing copy is all about specificity.
People are especially attracted to “The One Thing You Need to Know”: specificity is exclusive and powerful. It implies they’re missing out if they’re not on board, and motivates people to engage.
4. Open loops will increase your read & watch time.
Make an idea in someone’s mind, then leave them waiting until the end of the pitch to complete it. It prepares them for what’s coming, but builds anticipation, encourages them to stay, and leaves them wanting more while they’re waiting to find out where you’re heading.
People do this to draw others in all the time- what if one of your mentors or business partners called you and said “Hey, there’s something I really need to talk about soon. Can you meet me tomorrow?” You’ll immediately agree, and you’ll probably wonder for the next 24 hours what’s going on.
It goes something like this in marketing copy: “Do you like surprises? If you do, at the end of this video I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide that will reveal how I have gotten 343 chiropractic leads in under a week – but before I give you that, let me show you the Top 5 traffic sources for your practice.”
5. Your nemesis is “that.”
One of the most unnecessary words in our vocabulary is “that.” Filler words interrupt your message and just put another step in your audience’s path to converting.
“Here’s the thing you need to know: filler words are your enemy.”
Or you could say:
“Here’s the thing that you need to know: filler words are your enemy.”
These sentences say exactly the same thing, but the addition of one word like “that” doesn’t add any value or information, and it interrupts the flow of the message. It’s stealing power from the rest of your marketing copy.
Check out more filler words and phrases you should avoid as you write your marketing copy.
6. Pause… For dramatic effect.
The “buyer’s trance” is a powerful time to reel in your audience. It happens when the person who is reading your content or watching your video is totally zoned into your message- they’re completely engaged.
Integrate pauses to create the best experience for buyers when they’re engaged in your content. Don’t confuse them with bad or vague wording, and don’t distract them with grammar mistakes or overuse of words. If you break the “trance,” you’ve probably lost a lead.
It’s important to know when- and when not- to use pauses. The best way to do it is using punctuation.
“The power in music is the space between the notes. The power in a zoo is the space between the bars. The power is when we pause.”
7. Keep it simple & short.
Short sentences are helpful. They create more emphasis. They’re simple and clear.
Long sentences stress your readers because they imply all content within the paragraph-long sentence is related and strung together, so if you miss one part, you’ll get lost, and then you’ll be so caught up in hanging on to what was said at the beginning that you completely miss the overall point.
The most powerful sentences hold only one thought. Use subsequent sentences to expand ideas. Then use another to transition to the next thought.
Here’s a simple trick: People read like they’re speaking. This means they’ll read a long sentence much faster as if they’re trying to fit it all in one breath. That’s when they’ll miss what you’re saying because they’re so focused on getting through.
8. Don’t make your marketing copy smarter than an 8th grader.
The Flesch-Kincaid readability scale breaks down the difficulty of the language you’re using on a grade level scale. Microsoft Word provides the score in its spelling and grammar check, and there are plenty of other online readability tests available.
Most legal documents must be written at a ninth-grade level (score of 60) or below, according to many states’ legislation. Any score below 50 is considered college or graduate-level language. This article you’re reading now is scored at 61.3, or an eighth-grade reading level.
The recommended F-K score for consumers is “conversational English,” or a score of 80-90 on a 100-point scale.
9. Build excitement around easy answers.
Consumers rarely want to “learn.” Learning is synonymous with school and a lot of work and challenges. Meanwhile, offering consumers an opportunity to “discover” is a fast, quick and easy solution to their problems, and it suggests the solution was there all along. All they need to unlock their discovery is you.
If you had the option to choose between struggling through a solution, or finding a solution that was already done for you, which would you choose? Powerful language like “discover,” “reveal,” or “unlock” is a lot more likely to get buyers excited.
10. “So you can” < “to”.
When we learned to write, we all probably practiced making our language as long as possible. There were always word counts or page minimums to reach, and in our minds, it is generally more impressive to give longer content.
What we forget when we’re writing marketing copy is that it doesn’t matter how long our content is if it’s not worth anything. Make sure your content gets to the point, only gives meaningful examples, and doesn’t spend too much time circling ideas that have already been driven in.
One small way we create this painfully long marketing copy is by saying “Download this free guide so you can get this result.” There’s a far more effective way you can make the same point with just one change: say “Download this free guide to get this result.”
There are tons of other examples of wordiness that can be resolved. Cut these out for an instant fix in your writing.
11. Use the power of threes.
We’ve been conditioned to find finality in groupings of three. From fairy tales (three bears) to jokes (three guys in a bar), and even your marketing copy, we subconsciously expect to hear a third item listed, and we expect the third item to be the last one.
The power of three creates a rhythm and a flow that makes your language comfortable and seemingly effortless– and really powerful.
12. The customer is (really) always right.
On a deep psychological level, most people believe all of their circumstances and misfortunes are out of their control. The blame always falls beyond a person’s own actions, in their opinion.
People want to feel better about themselves. This is your opportunity to get through to them. When you’re listing the problems your potential customers may be experiencing, at the end say, “You’ve gone through all this. But the good news is, it’s not your fault.”
Every great brand has an enemy. Don’t make your audience feel alone- just help them discover how to attack the cause of their “bad luck.”
13. Customers can’t resist a mystery.
Mysticism surrounds our culture: magazine headlines say “The truth unfolds about this celebrity,” or “The shocking conspiracy behind that event”. Marketing copy frequently says, “You’ve never seen this result because you’ve never heard this ONE secret and it’s holding you back.”
We never encourage lying to our audience. Don’t guarantee results you come nowhere near offering. But if you can package what you’re offering as one simple solution, you’ve got a valuable offer.
14. Offer comfort and community for instant connection.
This tip also ties in with the “it’s not your fault” message. If you offer classes or community-oriented solutions of any kind, this is your golden key.
Reminding your audience they’re not alone in their problems is encouraging and motivating. It suggests others have conquered the same path, and perhaps they’ve even made it a bit easier. It suggests there’s a solution to learn from, and a security to find in a community rather than isolation.
15. Become a storyteller, not a marketer.
The most critical thing you can remember while you’re speaking to your audience is that they’re people, too. Many of the most personal connections people make are through storytelling: it’s the basis of cultural formation, and it’s how people build their understanding of other people and their ideas.
Check out this guide to the elements of good storytelling, and apply them to your messages to your audience.
16. Never, ever forget social proof.
Did you think we’d forget this one? We swear by social proof in all of our messaging. It’s how we grew our company overnight. Social proof takes many forms: you can use testimonials, provide reviews or ratings, and of course, show your audience the rest of your audience. We developed Proof for stronger social proof in our messaging and our marketing copy.
Social proof works because it covers a lot of the tactics outlined above. It reminds readers they’re not alone in their goals or struggles, it affirms that your content is authoritative, it’s specific, and it helps to lead into a moment of discovery.
Give your audience better marketing copy.
As you’re implementing these new strategies, we’d love for you to try Proof for increasing your conversions as well. We’re offering a two-week trial for anyone who wants to better reach their audience and unlock the key to getting better conversion rates.
The next time you’re creating content for your audience, implement these tips and watch your conversion rates grow. Let us know in the comments below what tips are new to you, and if you have any other tried-and-true tactics.